Koizumi Cabinet E-mail Magazine No. 164 (November 18, 2004)
[Lion Heart -- Message from Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi]
Iraq, nuclear submarine and North Korea
It has already been nine months since the Self-Defense Forces (SDF) first set foot in Iraq to provide humanitarian and reconstruction assistance. The assistance was initiated under the conviction that reconstructing and bringing peace to Iraq is in the best interests of not only the world, but also of Japan. Thus, Japan shall provide assistance as best it can, especially at this crucial time when the people of Iraq are working to rebuild their country by their own hands.
With the unanimous call by the United Nations for every country to provide assistance to Iraq, Japan resolved to provide humanitarian assistance as well as financial cooperation, serving as the two wheels on the axle of Japan's assistance to Iraq. As tensions still persist in Iraq, preventing ordinary civilians and civil servants from operating in the region, the SDF personnel are conducting humanitarian assistance activities on behalf of the Japanese people.
To date, operating on a rotating basis approximately 1,700 SDF personnel have taken part in assistance activities in Iraq. The SDF have received high praise for their activities from the people of Iraq as they have put into practice the good intentions of the people of Japan. They have so far provided technical assistance in medical fields at a hospital in Samawah, made emergency repairs to clinics, drawn water collected from the canal linking to the Euphrates River and distributed it to areas of water shortage using water purification systems and water tank trucks from Japan, repaired school facilities and transported supplies for humanitarian assistance.
Japan has also provided financial cooperation for a wide range of efforts from provision of tents to displaced persons, restoration of power generation plants, financial aid for plans to restore hospitals, provision of textbooks and school equipment, and development of ports and harbors to assistance to non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that are working hard to help reconstruct Iraq.
We have also carried out cooperation and exchanges in the area of culture and sports, such as broadcasting the TV drama series "Oshin" in Arabic in Iraq, offering 1,000 soccer balls to children in Iraq and holding friendship matches between the SDF soccer team and an Iraqi team comprising local middle and high school students.
In applying itself to such activities, Japan has reached out with a helping hand, providing 2 million people with water and sanitation assistance, and supporting 6 million students in education.
Prime Minister Ayad Allawi of the Iraqi Interim Government and the people of Iraq highly evaluate the humanitarian and reconstruction assistance activities performed by Japan. Governor Mohammad Ali-Hassan of Al-Muthanna Province offered me his words of deep gratitude upon his visit to my office in Tokyo.
The deployment of the SDF is scheduled to conclude on December 14. I will pay careful attention to the situation and future outlook in coming to a decision on whether to extend the deployment beyond mid-December.
It is now clear that the submarine that encroached on Japanese waters last week was a Chinese nuclear submarine. Japan protested to the Chinese government, and we received an explanation and expression of regret that the incursion occurred mistakenly while the submarine was on training exercises.
I urge China to take measures to make doubly sure that such an incident does not happen again in order to avoid an adverse impact on future Japan-China relations.
In the working-level consultations between Japan and North Korea, which began last week and extended beyond the planned date into this week, investigation was further made on the ten people whose whereabouts remain unknown. Although on this occasion the North Korean side made some degree of effort, the results are still unsatisfactory. We will make precise and detailed examination of the materials that were brought back to Japan and we must further investigate.
The basic position of Japan's relations with North Korea remains unchanged. Namely, under the concept of "dialogue and pressure" we aim to achieve the normalization of relations upon comprehensively resolving the abduction, nuclear and missile issues, based on the Japan-DPRK Pyongyang Declaration.
I will leave Japan this Friday for Santiago, the capital of Chile, to attend the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Economic Leaders' Meeting. I will be meeting with the leaders of other countries, including President George W. Bush of the United States, and while not overlooking issues concerning the economic development of the Asia-Pacific region, we will also be discussing peace and safety for the region and the wider world.
* The title of this column "Lion Heart" is a reference to the Prime Minister's lion-like hairstyle and his unbending determination to advance structural reform.
- Science and Technology in Society Forum (November 14, 2004)
- Prime Minister Attends Meeting of Nation's Prefectural Governors
(November 12, 2004)
- Statement of Mr.Junichiro Koizumi, Prime Minister of Japan,
On the occasion of the passing away of Mr.Yasser Arafat,
the Ra'ees of the Palestinian Interim Self-government Authority
and the Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Palestinian
Liberation Organization (PLO) (November 11, 2004)
- Reader's Comment on the e-mail magazine is available only to the subscribers.
- Click here to make comments on administration of Japan.
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